Tri-Valley – San Joaquin Valley Regional Rail Authority (Authority) officials announced June 1 that the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has approved Phase 1 of the Valley Link rail project for entry into the development of projects in the Capital Investment Grants (CIG) Program.
“Valley Link’s acceptance into the CIG program marks a key step in advancing this transformational project,” said Veronica Vargas, Chair of the Authority’s Board of Directors. “This is the first, yet essential, step in positioning Valley Link to compete for federal funding at a time when unique transit funding is available at the federal level.”
Phase 1 of the 26-mile Valley Link rail project between Dublin/Pleasanton Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) station in Alameda County and Mountain House station in San Joaquin County, will connect tens of thousands of workers from north from the San Joaquin Valley to the Tri-Valley at the center of the Northern California Megaregion – one of the fastest growing and economically important regions in the state of California.
“The Valley Link project has the potential to help thousands of commuters get out of traffic and back to their homes and families faster,” said Senator Alex Padilla. “The San Joaquin Valley and the Bay Area are becoming increasingly connected as more Californians live in one area and work in another. I look forward to continuing to work with the Federal Transit Administration to support this vital project, reduce pollution and congestion, and improve the quality of life in the area.
“I am extremely pleased that Valley Link has been approved by the Federal Transit Administration, a huge step forward in bringing this project to the finish line,” said Congressman Josh Harder. “Right now, commuters in Tracy and across the valley have no choice but to spend hours a day stuck in traffic and away from their families. Valley Link will save our workers the stress, time and money that comes with those ridiculously long trips. I can’t wait to see it operational.
The FTA’s approval of Valley Link in the CIG pipeline follows the unanimous adoption of Valley Link on March 23, 2022 as part of the regional project priorities for the CIG program by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), l transportation planning, financing, and coordinating agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area.
Valley Link will finally fill a critical gap in the statewide rail system with a 42-mile, 7-station rail connection between Dublin/Pleasanton BART station and North Lathrop ACE station with all-day service on the BART frequencies during peak periods. With 33,000 daily riders expected by 2040, Valley Link would remove tens of thousands of cars from Interstates 580 and 205 and connect nearly 500 miles of passenger railroad to more than 130 stations in the Northern California megaregion, eliminating up to 42,650 metric tons of greenhouse gases. emissions, creating 22,000 jobs and supporting the national movement of goods by reducing conflicts between trucks and cars on the 580 and 205 freeways that serve as lifelines between the Port of Oakland and domestic and international markets. Overall traffic on Interstate 580 is expected to increase by approximately 60% between 2016 and 2040, and truck traffic is expected to increase by 58%.
FTA’s action also offers a unique opportunity to mobilize public funds. The California State Legislature is currently considering the state budget for fiscal year 2022-23, as proposed by Governor Gavin Newsom, which contains a $2 billion increase in the Intercity Rail Capital Program and for transformative investments in public transport. That figure could rise to $11 billion if the state Senate proposal passes. The legislature must approve a budget by June 15, with a final decision on any budget bill by August 31.
The comprehensive Valley Link rail project will provide a new 42-mile, 7-station rail link between Dublin/Pleasanton BART station in Alameda County and North Lathrop Altamont Corridor Express (ACE) station in San Joaquin County with service all day on BART frequencies during peak periods – providing approximately 33,000 daily journeys in 2040. Phase 1 of the Valley Link project between Dublin/Pleasanton BART station and Mountain House station, including Isabel and South Front stations Road in Livermore, expected to be built in 2025.
Additional information about the Tri-Valley – San Joaquin Valley Regional Rail Authority can be found on the Regional Rail Authority’s website at www.valleylinkrail.com.